About Garden Project Academy
Hi! I'm Eve Hanlin
I help new and experienced gardeners plan and design their successful gardening projects.
I'm a landscape designer and certified horticulturist from the PNW corner of the USA.
I've been teaching local classes and offering landscape design services for years, and am excited to now be creating online resources to help more people! Hence the beginning of Garden Project Academy...
Welcome to Garden Project Academy!
This is a new, online education company that offers online courses and resources to help you have a successful gardening or landscaping project. A landscape design project is an incredible opportunity to make the world a better place, by starting in your own backyard.
Through GPA, I offer free live workshops, YouTube videos, and a free mini course. Of course, I have paid offers in the works: first up is an online Design-Your-Own Landscape Layout course, which will guide you through the process of creating a hand-drawn, to-scale plan for your dream yard (even if you are a beginner).
While I've been designing and teaching workshops for years, this online company is new... You're here at the very beginning!
Wouldn't it be a dream for GPA to become an online resource that brings together diverse voices and resources to empower YOU (and so many others) to make the world a better place, by best utilizing the opportunity of a backyard project? There is much to learn and do! Please let me know what you want to see next, and follow the journey by subscribing to the Garden Project Academy newsletter. It's the best way to stay involved if you want to hear when new resources are available for you.
There are many ways that plants and design can make the world a better place.
Actions taken in our own backyards can add up to a magnified positive impact.
Through Garden Project Academy, I hope to share resources and inspiration to make it easier for you to make the world a better place, by starting in your own backyard.
There are so many examples of positive backyard actions, it's hard to know where to start. But for now, I'm focusing on helping with LANDSCAPE DESIGN, because:
For now, these online design resources will mostly focus on "backyard" garden projects. Soon, I will provide more resources for those of us who don't have somewhere to dig! This is just the beginning.
Want to start leaning? Here are some ways I can help!
How I Learned About Plants
I developed a passion for plants as a kid, reading gardening books from the library, growing snapdragons in a window box.
At 15, I was one of the youngest to complete my local Master Gardener training program (through WSU Extension). I volunteered as a Master Gardener at plant sales, events, classes, and conferences: I learned that there are many different ways that plants and gardening can create positive impacts.
I don't have a college degree in the horticultural field (though I am so happy say I recently graduated with a business degree!). Some may judge my lack of "formal design training," but I believe there are many other ways to learn and prove knowledge.
Here are a few highlights of my plant education:
• I’m a Certified Professional Horticulturalist (by the Washington State Nursery & Landscaping Association). This essentially means I passed my state’s horticultural equivalent to the “bar exam,” so I can officially call myself a Horticultural professional.
• Over 10 years experience as a WSU Extension Master Gardener
• Certified for Permaculture Design by OSU
• Completed trainings like the Master Composter/Recycler Program, a Community Garden Administration Program, and a School Garden Coordinator Program
• Many years experience growing things, learning from plants (and trial and error)
My early career was in outreach and education, until 2015 when a friend asked me to design their yard. I did, they loved it, and it occurred to me: I could do this as a job!
Years of designing, consulting, and teaching in-person workshops followed.
I quickly found that a good landscape designer acted more of a guide or an educator. I could know everything in the world about plants, but I would have been a useless designer without developing systems for helping my clients articulate their dreams, learn from their landscape, and plan to bring it to life.
There are challenges with being a landscape designer, primarily time being a limitation. Waitlists are challenging to pace when every job is different, and scheduling is exhausting. How do I help more people in less time? I began researching solutions... and the idea for Garden Project Academy came to life. Online courses create an opportunity for artfully crafted education and empowerment like never before, and I can't wait to bring so many incredible resources to life to help you with your yard.
I am excited to have just started Garden Project Academy, offering online courses, design resources, and inspiration to make it easier for you to make the world a better place, starting with projects in your own backyard.
I garden on Indigenous lands. Specifically, the lands of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. (If you do not know whose land you garden on, you can learn more here).
I teach subjects like landscape design, gardening, and urban foraging. Something I dislike about landscape design in general, is that it is often about us applying our intentions to the space we are working with. I do my best to flip this script, learning from the space, finding the best way to meet our personal needs within balance, so we can do good with the opportunity we have when taking on a landscaping project.
I work hard to respect the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. I teach urban foraging and plant uses with a focus on plants that were brought here (many colonizers brought plants that naturalized or became weeds) to not appropriate knowledge that does not belong to me. If I do refer to uses of Native Plants, I do so honoring where this knowledge comes from. I carry reverence and respect for this boundary. I have a desire to do my part to reconnect people to plants and the incredible gifts they offer. I would never have learned the love of plants if no one had taught me. Because I learned this love, I am able to dedicate my life work to work to help the mutual fate of people and plants. I hope to help teach others this love.
I use the term “backyard” a lot. It is likely what you are here for help with! I optimize my content for keywords like "landscape design ideas for my backyard." People come to me with a backyard and a desire to do better with it, and I am here to do my best to help. I feel the weight of the fact that the concept of a "backyard" ("a patch of land we own") represents a construct with complex history. My ancestors colonized and claimed ownership and murdered and harmed people and place. I have learned that my culture is wrong to believe land is something that should be "owned," and not be considered a shared and sacred resource.
Yet here I am, often finding myself with a knot in my stomach and a broken heart, as I professionally help someone decide how to design their backyard after they must remove the "Western Red Cedars" that are dying from the heat and dryness caused by climate change (If you are not familiar with this tree, I highly recommend the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, which shares so much). How do I treat this like an opportunity, when there is so much wrong that has brought us to this place? What can I do to help?
I hope that through Garden Project Academy, I can help you make the world a better place through plants, wherever you are digging. I don't have all the answers, but I am taking responsibility to ask the question: What can we do in our backyards to help plants and people and work toward solutions and learn? What can we do beyond our backyards? This is a brand new business, I learn so much every day. I am learning how to create online courses, how to optimize YouTube videos for SEO, and how to fix website glitches. I am learning from others and their experiences. I am always learning what we can do with the tools and resources we have. I am always learning what Garden Project Academy can do to help.
Your "Backyard" is an Opportunity
Did you know that a study done back in 2005 found lawn to be the largest irrigated crop cultivated in the USA? I couldn’t tell you how it’s changed since then, and also, there are larger un-irrigated crops...
However, I am sharing this to demonstrate something so important:
The actions we take add up.
Lawn is often considered unremarkable. Unless you are a passionate lawn lover, you probably don't dedicate much mental energy to your lawn. Your kids or pets may enjoy it. You take care of it.
But consider this: just our lawns can add up to what is perhaps still THE LARGEST IRRIGATED CROP IN THE USA.
It is a small part of many people's daily lives. But it demonstrates something so important: the actions taken in everyone's yards add up.
Our everyday actions can add up to a significant positive or negative impact, right?
Definitely not a perfect concept, because of course, we should be taking big actions to fix the many big problems we are facing. We need to take big actions, too, and not use small actions as an excuse to avoid the big ones.
However, you can still do something small, and it still counts. Small things are important, and they definitely add up.
This applies to all areas of life, of course, but we're here to talk about gardening and landscape design.
Ask yourself, "If everyone did this in their yard, would it make the world a better or worse place?"
Even small actions, in your own backyard, can add up to magnify good things.